How the LTTE sacrificed Tamil Children

TO THOSE WHO STILL HAVE A SOFT CORNER TOWARDS THE LTTE

AN APPEAL FOR A SOUL SEARCH

Please read how the LTTE sacrificed Tamil children: * Over 500 LTTE child cadre killed (The Hindu : 5 Oct 1998) , *The LTTE treated us as animals, say their surrendered  cadres (Daily News : 2 Oct 1998),   * Don't be misled by LTTE's killer-leaders - surrenders (Daily News : 7 Oct 1998) and *Olara Otunnu disappointed over LTTE breach of assurance (Daily News : 8 Oct 1998)and how the LTTE killed 48 innocent Tamils by blasting a civil air liner  *LTTE shot down civilian flight says Tamil separatist group Eelam People's Revolutionary Front (Daily News: 3 Oct 1998)   Read about the "Liberators & Guardians of the Tamils"! Read, Think & then Decide.  

STAND UP AGAINST TERRORISM!

 

LTTE violates pledge not to recruit child soldiers

UN Under-Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflicts Olara Otunnu last week accused the LTTE of violating its
pledge to the international community not to recruit child soldiers.

'According to reports reaching my office, they continue recruiting children below 17', Otunnu said in an exclusive interview with
the Daily News. 'Even I receive information on abduction of schoolchildren by the LTTE in Northern Sri Lanka,' he said.

Click Daily News : 11 Oct 1999 for details

 

Amnesty International - News Release - IOR 42/06/99
10 June 1999
WORLD
USA leads in blocking efforts to stop use of child soldiers

 

Amnesty opposes child Tigers

COLOMBO: Amnesty International has launched a campaign against the recruitment of child soldiers by Sri Lanka's Tamil
Tiger rebels and called for a global halt to underage warriors.

Amnesty, in a report sent here on Sunday, said the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued to ``forcibly
recruit'' children as young as 14 despite a promise not to do so.

Click TIMES OF INDIA 31 May 1999 for full report

 

In May 1998....................

The LTTE leadership, which for a long time had been accused of using children in the war, said they would no longer use
children below the age of 18 years in combat, Mr. Otunnu said. They promised that they would not recruit children below 17
years. They also agreed to the monitoring of those commitments.

 

In September 1998 (just 4 months after)......................

22 October 1998

Press Release
GA/SHC/3482

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CHILDREN UNDER 18 YEARS SHOULD NOT BE RECRUITED INTO ARMED FORCES NOR PARTICIPATE IN CONFLICT, THIRD COMMITTEE TOLD

Click here for the full Press Release

 

Tamil parties horrified by LTTE child conscription
Sunday Times : 15 Nov 1998

Two Tamil Party leaders have accused the LTTE of committing one of the most horrible acts in history by forcibly conscripting a baby brigade, especially in the aftermath of heavy losses at Kilinochchi.

EPRLF leader, K. Premachandran told The Sunday Times that after the Kilinochchi operation, the LTTE leadership had ordered the Batticaloa area leaders to recruit 5000 cadres within three months.

First the LTTE attempted to recruit young boys and girls by showing them the video clippings from the operations at Kilinochchi and Paranthan. Since the response was not upto expectations they resorted to forcible conscription.

"We have reliable information that in many instances the forcibly taken children who escaped from the LTTE have been abducted by the LTTE for the second time as they could not come into the cleared area".

The Military do not allow young Tamils from the uncleared areas to come into the cleared area for security reasons.

So even the Tamil parents who want to rescue their children from the clutches of LTTE do not have the chance to do so due to decisions taken in Colombo without considering the ground realities, he said.

EPDP leader Douglas Devananda said the LTTE's recruitment of children was ghastly and heartless. "We are totally and strongly against the LTTE and all its methods. We have often said this openly.

"It is ghastly for the LTTE to conscript young boys and even girls, The flower of our youth". "The LTTE is heartless. Recently it was reported that mothers and fathers of children taken forcibly for the LTTE army were wailing and tearing their hair with grief.

"The 'baby brigade' is one of those inconceivable horrors of history," he said.

 

Lanka demands international drive against child soldiers
Daily News : 7 November 1998


COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lanka on Friday called for an international coalition against child soldiers as a top United Nations official said the LTTE broke a pledge not to recruit child combatants.

Sri Lanka welcomed remarks by the UN special representative for children in armed conflict, Olara Otunnu, calling the Tigers to honour pledges to ban child soldiers.

Otunnu said at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday that despite a commitment to him in May, the LTTE had continued to recruit and use children in their struggle against the Sri Lankan Government.

A Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry spokesman said they welcomed Otunnu's remarks and said it could signal a stronger UN stance against the use of children as combatants.

"We have been concerned that the UN system has not taken a stronger view on child soldier up to now. We are glad that Mr. Otunnu has finally spoken," spokesman Ravinatha Aryasinha said.

He said the Colombo Government hoped Ottunu's acti on will lead to the formation of an international coalition against the growing problem of minors being used in wars. "It should have come earlier," Aryasinha said.

Otunnu who visited Sri Lanka in May said LTTE child soldiers who recently surrendered during the capture of the key northern town of Mankulam were between 13 and 18 years old.

"These reports are all the more disturbing against the background of that commitment," he said.

"I appeal here to the LTTE leadership to take concrete measures to stop the recruitment of children into their ranks in accordance with commitments in May."

His remarks followed a scathing attack on the United Nations Children's' Fund (UNICEF) by the Sri Lankan Government which accused the UN agency of taking a "soft approach" towards the LTTE.

Meanwhile the butchering of civilians and the recruitment o f child soldiers are on the risedespite worldwide campaigns against such human rights violations, Otunnu said.

He cited Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Kenya as recent examples of brutal killings of women and children. In Colombia, Sri Lanka, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone, children are recruited as soldiers.

"The deliberate targeting of civilian populations is on the rise and the recruitment and use of children in combat also is on the rise," he told a news conference.

"There is an urgent need to mobilise a major international campaign to lean on parties in conflict to stop right now the massive recruitment and use of children in theatres of conflict,"
he said.

Joining Otunnu was Anna Cataldi, an Italian freelance journalist recently named as a U.N. peace messenger. She noted that the spread of light weapons made it easier for youngsters to handle arms.

She said that authorities in many countries she visited distinguished between voluntary and forced recruitment. "If a child is starving, is alone, and someone offers him to become a soldier, is that really voluntary?"

Specific incidents of child soldier recruitment included:

-- Colombia - Guerrillas and the Government were recruiting and using children as fighters, although most were over 15. But children as young as eight have patrolled with paramilitary units. Fighters on both sides use them for dangerous front-line tasks such as informants and spotting landmines.

-- Sri Lanka -- The LTTE continue to recruit children as young as 13 despite a pledge to Otunnu they would stop using children under 17.

-- Democratic Republic of the Congo - Both the rebels and the government have increased the use of youngsters in their armies since attacks against the Laurent Kabila Government in August. Some reports say children are being recruited in neighbouring countries for the Congo conflict.

-- Sierra Leone - Rebels of th e Revolutionary United Front continue to use children in fighting, some recruited in neighbouring Liberia. Under-age boys are also initiated into the government's Civil Defence Forces.

 

Parents wailing, weeping and pleading as LTTE drags children away
Daily News : 3 November 1998

There is chaos in the LTTE controlled area in the Batticaloa District as parents are reported battling LTTE terrorists attempting to conscript their children.

Informed sources told the Daily News yesterday that according to latest reports, the LTTE were abducting children at gun point and loading them onto trucks with some of them managing to jump out to freedom, while parents run wailing behind the vehicles.

In some cases, parents have been successful in dragging their children away from the clutches of the terrorists.

According to eyewitnesses, these pathetic scenes display the inhuman cruelty of the terrorists towards the Tamils, the sources said.

LTTE Leader Prabhakaran has ordered all his leaders to abduct children even of the tender ages of eight to ten as the Tigers had lost hundreds of cadres recently leaving too few for combat.

Last week, the LTTE leaders exhibited film clips of their cadres in battle and used loud hailers to exhort children to join the ranks of the ruthless terrorist organisation but their appeals had gone unheeded. Hence, their brutal abduction of youth.

Informed sources said that a large number of terrorists had deserted and joined the civilian population while others had surrendered and hundreds of others had moved south to escape conscription. Many were now in Colombo and other urban areas living with their friends and relatives, while still others were attempting to have funds sent from abroad to move to
foreign climes.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has protested strongly to the United Nations against the violation of a pledge given by the LTTE's Thamil Chelvam to UN Special Representative on Children in Armed Conflict Olara Otunnu some months ago that the LTTE will stop conscripting children.

A

LTTE recruites more children for the wer-front

With the controversy over the death-toll in last month's Kilinochchi-Mankulam reversals somewhat receding from public memory, the dire need to replace the lost or maimed forces is clearly being felt. While the Sri Lankan security forces gave an
island-wide call to their retired policemen for deployment in the war-zone, the LTTE reportedly stepped up its recruitment drive among children in the eastern Batticaloa district.

Click here for the full news item : Security forces, LTTE step up recruitment (Hindu : 18 Oct 1998)

 

Prevent child recruitment

The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), according to our lead news item yesterday, has made it known that it cannot act in respect of the abduction by the LTTE of children to use them as child combatants unless their parents make formal complaints to that effect. This looks a valid reason in that the ICRC is an organisation required to maintain neutrality in a conflict. It cannot be faulted for wanting to steer clear of an issue that is detrimental to the interests of a party to the conflict, the LTTE

Click here for details ..(The Island Editorial : 27 Oct 1998)

 

Jaffna SF commander warns parents: beware of LTTE abducting children
Daily News : 2 November 1998

Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General Lionel Balagalle warned Jaffna parents about the LTTE's attempts to forcibly conscript their children.

The Commander said though the terrorists had so far been unsuccessful in such attempts within the peninsula, they had however been able to recruit four small children from the Delft Islands about six months ago.

Click here for the full news article

 

Tamil political party PLOTE slams LTTE for sending children to battlefields
(The Island : 10 Oct 1998)

The LTTE has come under severe criticism from the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE)
which has parliamentary representation, for using children in the war, killing of members of former Tamil militant
groups that have joined the democratic mainstream of politics and the recent downing of the Lionair plane with 54
people on board.
 
For full details, click here

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Don't be misled by LTTE's killer leaders - surrenders of LTTE (Daily News : 7 Oct 1998)

LTTE cadres who surrendered to the forces at Mankulam, have requested their colleagues not to be further misled by the killer-leaders of the organisation.  In the midst of attacks by Jayasikuru troops, key Tiger leaders, such as Nakkiran and Jeyam had fled.   No faith can be placed on them, therefore the cadres, who are in the custody of the Government troops, are appealing to the other members to surrender soon, through Red Cross Offices in their areas.

 

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16 child soldiers say the LTTE kidnapped them
Daily News : 9 Oct 1998

Sixteen out of the 26 LTTE child soldiers, who surrendered to the armed forces at Mankulum last week, told the media that they were kidnapped by the LTTE, recruited to its army and forced to carry cyanide capsules.
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The terrorist leaders had instructed them that they should take cyanide capsules rather than surrender to the armed forces.

These children, four of whom were girls, met journalists in Colombo on Wednesday. This was arranged by the defence authorities.

Asked why they did not bite the cyanide capsule instead of surrendering to the army all 16 of them answered in unison: "We did not want to die."

All admitted of having received rigorous combat training which included training in sophisticated weapons. For most of them, the Mankulum battle had been the first battle front exposure. The eldest in the group was 17 and the youngest 13.

The child soldiers said they wanted to go back to school to their home towns, but said they were terrified of doing so because of what the LTTE might do to them.

In addition to fighting in the battle field they had been assigned different duties in various sections of the camp such as the medical division, the kitchen and the supplies unit where ammunition were kept.

Speaking quite freely to reporters after a brief initial silence they related how they came to join the 'Tiger Baby Brigade' and their experiences in it.

"The LTTE kidnapped me while travelling to school in Mulliavallev, early this year,", said a 13-year-old narrating in Tamil how he joined the Tigers.

"All my friends in school were very scared of the LTTE because the Tigers force their way to our schools often. They hold 'lectures' and we are told that we have to sacrifice our lives for Eelam. After I was taken to the LTTE camp in Mulliavallev my grandmother came looking for me but they hid me. My grandmother was told by the LTTE leaders that I was not there," he said.

The task entrusted to this teenager had been to distribute ammunition to the LTTE cadres. Asked whether there were others as young as him in his camp he said: "There were over 100 youngsters, most of them younger than me."

A 15-year-old boy with a gun shot injury on his shoulder, said the LTTE took him from his house in 1995 and gave combat training in Batticaloa.

He had escaped in 1996 but the LTTE had come searching for him. "I was assaulted and taken to the camp again," he said.There had been 140 others around his age in the camp with him.

"Training starts at 6 am and goes on till 10 am. We have to report again for training at 3 pm which goes on till 5 pm," he said.

Asked what they were told about the Sinhalese, he said the training at the LTTE camps included a separate 'program' where they were told that the Sinhalese are their enemies.

"They told us that it was our duty to kill them," he added.

Asked whether he believed the LTTE, he replied: "I did not know what to believe as I had not seen any Sinhalese. Today is the first time I am seeing them".

He said his friends in the camp speak of LTTE leader Prabhakaran as if he is a 'deity' but adds that personally "he does not know."

Asked what he thinks of the war, his reply was that "he does not know" as he "does not see any reason to fight a
war".

A 17-year-old girl whose one time ambition was to become a doctor said she spent most of her time in the LTTE kitchen section. Recruited to the LTTE last year, she received combat training but worked both in the kitchen and the battle field alternatively.

According to this girl, limited but regular quantities of food is given to the children during training but the rations are cut down once they are sent to the battle field. "Most of the younger ones are sent to the forward defence lines and they hardly receive a single proper meal a day," she said.

Asked about the ages of other girls in her camp, she said the youngest are around the ages of nine and 10. According to her these girls were used for various menial chores.

"I hope I can pursue my childhood dreams of taking to the medical profession and looking after my parents. Now that I have surrendered to the Government I hope this opportunity will be given to me and the others to start our lives all over again," she said.

According to Brigadier Sunil Tennakoon who officiated the meeting, a comprehensive rehabilitation program is to be implemented by the Government for LTTE members who surrender.

Daily News : Friday 02, October 1998

The LTTE treated us as animals

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With the fall of Mankulam to the Jayasikuru troops, boys and girls ranging between 11 and 17 years surrendered to the
Government troops. They were part of the fighting cadre of the LTTE.

They said everyone of them had been either kidnapped or forcibly taken from their houses by LTTE agents.

In a fervent message to their Tamil brothers and sisters, they said: "Treat the LTTE leaders as animals because they
treated us the same way. They are not human even to their own cadres".

Some of them said: "We were plucked from the hands of our parents at gun point."

Ranee, 13, from Vavuniya said she was only 12 when an LTTE agent came into her house and grabbed her by the hand.

"When my mother asked what he was trying to do to me the man pulled out a pistol and threatened to shoot my mother.

My mother fainted and I was dragged away and put into a van and taken to Madu jungles where there were other young
boys and girls. That was August last year, she said.

Romesh Ramachandra, 12, from Olumadu said: "I was playing with my friends away from my house when some
men came in a van and called us. We all ran near the van.

"There were three men in the van and they asked us to get in. When we refused they pulled out a knife and we got in."

There were 24 boys and girls who surrendered.

They said: "The troops treated us well. Food and kindness were very rare in the LTTE organisation but now with the government soldiers we got both food and kindness in ample measure."

 

COMMENT BY SPUR:

The above photographs and the news item is candid proof of the brutality of the "Liberators of the Tamils", LTTE - The Tamil Tigers, on innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka.  These poor helpless Tamil kids are plucked from their mothers by force and turned into cannon fodder by the Tiger terrorists.  What hypocrisy is that many expatriate Tamils send funds to the Tiger terrorists while cuddling their own kids in safety and luxury!  In the name of humanity we urge our Tamil brethren: STOP FUNDING THE LTTE!

 

Child soldiers and peace opportunities
Daily News Editorial : 10 Oct 1998

Besides the need to constantly maintain and increase international pressure on the Tigers to disband their so-called Baby Brigades, the capture of several LTTE child soldiers impresses on us the need to step-up North-South people-to-people contacts.

The first of these needs is being satisfactorily looked after by the country's Foreign Policy establishment headed by Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. Reports said that the Minister had called on the US House of Representatives to throw its weight behind the current international campaign to end the abomination of child soldiers. He was quoted telling some Congressmen and Senators that the 26 child soldiers who surrendered to the armed forces after the capture of Mankulam, "revealed the extent of the ruthless use of children in the conflict by the LTTE'.

Earlier in the week, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, Olara Otunnu, was quoted telling Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris, that he regretted the continued deployment by the LTTE of children under the age of 17 in the armed conflict. Apparently, pledges given by the Tigers to Otunnu that they would refrain from engaging child soldiers are being observed more in the breach.

The need is great to step-up moral pressure on the LTTE to leave the Innocents of the North-East alone, and protests by the US could help considerably in this crucial international campaign. However, the campaign has to be sustained and vibrant. The international community is obliged to ensure that all signatories to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, faithfully ratify this vital covenant and implement its provisions.

Next, the North-South dialogue. It is part of the brutalization technique of the LTTE to catch its future combatants at a young, impressionable age. One child soldier who was captured at Mankulam reveals how he was coercively conditioned into seeing the Sinhalese as his number one enemy, although it is only after his capture that he saw members of the majority community for the first time in his life. Asked what he thought of the war, the boy said that he does not see any reason to fight a war.

These revelations of the young victims of the "other side of the divide", remind us of the great opportunities for peace-making which have been squandered as a result of not keeping North-South people-to-people contacts going. The stark truth is that whole communities have been demonised by influential sections on both sides of the divide. Vested interests among both communities have assiduously taught their young that the "other" community represents unmitigated evil - the arch enemy.

So we have the case of this child soldier who has just awakened into the realisation that the Sinhalese, whom he was taught to hate, could, in fact, be humane. In this Moment of Truth, he questions the need for war.

We should see the potential here, in sustained and vibrant people-to-people contacts between North and South. Perhaps on coming to know each other more closely, the members of the communities concerned would recognize their common humanity and question the need for war.

 

To know more about how the LTTE has sacrificed Tamil children to achieve their dictatorship, read following published articles;

 

 

Ban child soldiers reiterates Otunnu
Sunday Observer : 8 November 1998


COLOMBO, (AFP) - Sri Lanka on Friday called for an international coalition against child soldiers as a top United Nations official said the island's Tamil rebels broke a pledge not to recruit child combatants.

Sri Lanka welcomed remarks by the UN special representative for children in armed conflict, Olara Otunnu, calling the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to honour pledges to ban child soldiers.

Otunnu said at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday that despite a commitment to him in May, the separatist LTTE in Sri Lanka had continued to recruit and use children in their struggle against the Sri Lankan government.

A Sri Lankan foreign ministry spokesman said they welcomed Otunnu's remarks and said it could signal stronger UN stance against the use of children as combatants.

"We have been concerned that the UN system has not taken a stronger view on child soldier up to now. We are glad that Mr. Otunnu has finally spoken," spokesman Ravinatha Aryasinha said.

He said the Colombo government hoped Otunnu's action will lead to the formation of an international coalition against the rowing problem of minors being used in wars. "It should have come earlier," Aryasinha said.

Otunnu who visited Sri Lanka in May said Tamil Tiger child rebels who recently surrendered during the capture of the key northern town of Mankulam were between 13 and 18 years old.

"These reports are all the more disturbing against the background of that commitment," he said.

"I appeal here to the LTTE leadership to take concrete measures to stop the recruitment of children into their ranks in accordance with commitments in May."

His remarks followed a scathing attack on the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) by the Sri Lankan government which accused the UN agency of taking a "soft approach" towards the island's Tamil rebels.

Sri Lanka also criticised the UNICEF for "dragging its feet" in condemning the LTTE which is battling government forces to establish an independent Tamil homeland in the island's north-east.

 

SRI LANKA: U.N Talks Warring Sides into Taking Care of Children

Five conscripts of LTTE escape (Daily News : 28 Nov 1998)


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